Summertime Vegetable Salad with Pinto Beans - My Mother's Way

This chopped fresh vegetable salad with a scoop of delicious cooked loobia chiti (pinto beans) and a generous amount of lemon juice and olive oil dressing was my favorite summer lunch growing up in my home in the south of Iran. My mother's way of preparing salad was to chop all the vegetables into bite-size pieces so we didn't need to use a knife to cut the lettuce and tomato wedges. Usually, when you think of Iranian vegetable salads the well-known salad shirazi comes to mind where Persian cucumbers, firm tomatoes, yellow or red onions are chopped into tiny pieces and served with oil, lemon juice/verjuice and dried mint dressing. However, this simple mix of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers is the other popular salad that is often served with most meals.You can just make a basic fresh salad or add (har chi doost darid) anything your heart desires depending on the seasonal availability. Summer is the time for salad to shine as the main course by turning an ordinary salad into an extraordinary delicious meal.

With six kids out of school for the summer and my father's preference for freshly cooked meals, making hearty salads was my mother's way of staying away from standing over a hot stove during those really hot summers. For many years we lived in an old-style house where the kitchen was located across the hayat (courtyard) away and separate from the dining area, living room and the rest of the house. The kitchen was small with a few cabinets/shelves filled with pots and pans and with only one window and no air conditioning. It was in that dreary matbakh (kitchen) that anything Maman made tasted wonderfully delicious. Her pinto beans were exceptionally tasty. Her secret was using good olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice and she would always serve the pinto beans in a large clear glass fish shaped platter. It was in that dark and removed kitchen in a small town in Khuzestan where the root of my inspiration and passion for my Turmeric and Saffron blog was formed.

I love to make this salad with as many fresh and colorful vegetables as possible and serve it with pinto beans on the side in my eat-in kitchen that's not just a place to cook food but rather the center of our home where we come together, talk, make decisions, eat food, greet friends or just hang out.




Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

1 medium-sized head of iceberg lettuce or romaine, chopped
A handful of baby lettuces, chopped
3 medium sized tomatoes, cut into pieces (I used a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved)
4 Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 medium sized carrots, shredded
2-3 radishes, sliced
1 small onion, chopped *optional
A small bunch of parsley, chopped

Method:
  1. In a large salad bowl toss all washed and chopped ingredients and gently mix well by hand. 
  2. Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing.
  3. You may sprinkle the salad with crumbled feta cheese.
***
Loobia Chiti (Pinto Beans)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
A pinch of black pepper
Water

Method:
  1. Drain the soaked beans and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with five cups of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. 
***
Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon dried mint, or a combination of dried mint and dried dill
1 small garlic clove, minced *optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. In a small mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together and mix well using a whisk or a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.


Enjoy!

14 comments:

  1. It looks delicious
    I really appreciate if you could share Haleem recipe.
    Zhinous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Zhinous jan. Here's the recipe for Haleem:
      http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2010/01/haleem-wheat-and-meat-persian-breakfast.html

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  2. the salad looks so pretty and refreshing.. thank you for sharing, Azita. Happy Summer

    ReplyDelete
  3. We used to eat a similar salad during summer time as well but with kidney beans instead. Your post brought back so many good memories. Thanks for sharing :)

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  4. I love that refreshing vegetable salad

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  5. Salam

    Hamishe az khoondane site shoma lezat mibaram , salhast ke sitehaye ashpazi ra peygiri mikonam va hamishe jaye yek site aberoomande irani ke mokhatabe khareji dashte bashe khali bood....
    azatoon tashakor mikonam va omidvaram ke movafagh bashid ...
    Ladan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salam Ladan jaan, az lotf va mohabate shoma kheili mamnoonam. Shad o salamat bashid. Azita

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  6. Dear Azita, please don't kill me and you don't have to accept it but I ( wanted to and had to) and just nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award. Here's the link: http://figandquince.com/2012/06/10/ich-li-bi-dish-the-liebster-award/ -azita

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Azita joon! I am very flattered and truly appreciate it.

      Delete
  7. Another great recipe! Thank you. Now I have to find Pinto beans...

    I hereby award you the Versatile Blogger Award:

    http://lifesjewelsonstring.blogspot.de/2012/06/versatile-blogger-award.html

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  8. Hi Azita,

    A quick question... is that cilantro/coriander leaves or flat leaf parsley in the pinto beans? We love pinto beans here in my house (Texans like their beans!) and I am really wanting to try this recipe!

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mylynka, I added some chopped flat leaf parsley on top.

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    2. Thanks! This is going into my meal plan this week!

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